Suicide Crisis — Anxiety disorders in youth

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Nearly everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. But those feelings can turn into an actual disorder — and adults aren’t the only ones who can develop serious problems.

Adrienne Devine, Will’s Place Therapist, said, “A lot of times younger people don’t have language to really describe what they’re going through.”

When a child acts out of character, we may brush it off as just bad behavior. But for youth experiencing an anxiety disorder — feelings of worry or fear are not a choice.

“With anxiety, it’s something that everybody experiences. But whenever we start talking about an anxiety disorder it’s whenever we have anxiety that doesn’t come and go with a specific situation.”

Many kids experiencing this will be irritable, have difficulty concentrating or avoid certain activities or places they normally wouldn’t. There are also physiological effects.

“Like sweating, and shaking, and upset stomachs, and forgetfulness.”

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a child to be diagnosed.

“Statistics currently, for adults in the US with some form of an anxiety disorder is 19.1% and then adolescents it’s a lot higher, it’s almost 32%.”

Luckily, getting kids the care they need to cope with these feelings is readily available in the Four States. Like at Will’s Place.

“We have outpatient psychotherapy and that’s what I do. We have medication management. And then we also have what’s called case management.”

All with a goal of creating long-term coping mechanisms, like learning mindfulness and thought re-direction.

“We can really kind of take those thoughts that are driving that anxiety up and kind of address those right at the source.”

Many school districts — like Carl Junction — even provide therapy on campus, with free transportation for students and families.

“There’s just no need for anybody to go through something that’s so uncomfortable by themselves. We’re all here together and we can help each other out.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.

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